Cross dyke on south eastern spur of Bow Hill, 900m south west of the Tansley Stone


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 81715 10443

Reasons for Designation

Beneficial land use over the years has enabled Bow Hill and Kingley Vale to support one of the most diverse and well-preserved areas of chalk downland archaeological remains in south eastern England. These remains are considered to be of particular significance because they include types of monument more often found in Wessex and south western Britain. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between trackways, settlement sites, land boundaries, stock enclosures, flint mines, ceremonial and funerary monuments in the area gives significant insight into successive changes in the pattern of land use over time. Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans the millenium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-preserved examples are considered to be of national importance. Despite some tree-root disturbance and localised damage caused by the excavation of a modern flag pole setting, the cross dyke on the south eastern spur of Bow Hill survives well and contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument is one of a series of linear boundaries constructed across the three limbs of the Y-shaped hill, partly enclosing the hill top and The Devil's Humps round barrow cemetery. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will therefore provide evidence for the relationship between land division and funerary practice during the period of their construction and use.


The monument includes a cross dyke running across a spur which projects from a ridge of the Sussex Downs. The cross dyke is a south west-north east orientated ditch, 240m long, 9m wide and c.2m deep, flanked on the south east side by a bank 2m wide, surviving to a height of 0.5m above the surrounding ground. The line of the ditch coincides with the course of a modern parish boundary. On the north west, upslope side is a slight counterscarp bank c.1m wide and around 0.2m high. To the south west, the cross dyke fades out at the point where the ground falls away to form the south western slope of the hill. At around 110m from the south western end, the course of the ditch is interrupted by a slight, semicircular bank, but continues immediately beyond this for around 70m, until it is cut by a later track. The surface of the track is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included. To the north east, the dyke ends in a distinct, shepherd's crook-shaped terminal, where the bank and ditch curve round sharply to the south east. Inside the curve of the terminal is a deep, subrectangular excavation, the site of a recently removed modern flagpole setting.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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